World Economic Forum warns of growing inequality

A high school student receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Bangalore, India, January 10, 2022.

How much will the Covid-19 pandemic affect the global economy in 2022? Despite the postponement of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which brings together the planet’s economic and political elites each year in Davos, the organization located in Geneva published, on Tuesday January 11, its 17e annual report on global risks. The document echoes the concerns of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank on the economic turbulence that developing countries could experience in the coming months. “Global leaders must come together and adopt a coordinated, multi-stakeholder approach to tackle key global challenges and build a sense of resilience ahead of the next crisis”, said Saadia Zahidi, the chief executive of the GEF.

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The WEF is alarmed by the aggravation of divergences between countries due to the crisis caused by Covid-19. These inequalities are abysmal in terms of vaccination, while half of the world’s population is still not vaccinated and that “in the fifty-two poorest countries home to 20% of the world’s population , only 6% of the population has been vaccinated”.

Moreover, while some countries are expected to return to solid growth in 2022, others could lag behind for many years. “By 2024, advanced economies are expected to outperform pre-pandemic growth by 0.9%, while developing economies (excluding China) will be 5.5% atbelow. »

Risk of social tensions

These disparities risk creating social tensions within and across borders, as inequalities resulting from the pandemic compound “to the imbalances in the labor market and to the widening digital, school and educational gaps”, says the report.

The organization also warns of the danger posed by these differences to collaboration between States in the face of common threats. Among these, the dangers related to cybersecurity have been amplified by the pandemic, with the massive use of telework and the growing dependence of countries on digital technology: “In 2020, malware and ransomware attacks increased by 358% and 435% respectively. »

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Similarly, the migration issue remains significant, while “34 million people were displaced by conflict in 2020”, and that the lingering effects of the pandemic translate into higher barriers to entry for immigrants.

Finally, the report stresses the urgency of jointly combating climate change, the main long-term danger, and is concerned about the possible failure of climate policies in the medium and long term. A disorderly climate transition, characterized by divergent trajectories, “will only further divide countries.”

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